The Literacy Program is particularly helping youth who struggle academically and are falling behind their peers. It has been shown that academic trouble is a predicting factor of why a student later drops out of school. The Clubs utilize early intervention in order to deter further disengagement with school overall, in hopes of increasing graduation rates.
The Boys & Girls Club has noticed the growing dropout rate occurring in Oregon, where more than 50% of students in Multnomah County public schools fail to graduate. There are several predictive factors which determine youth who are most likely to dropout: living in poverty, living in a single parent households, and being a minority. These are categories which describe a majority of youth attending the Boys & Girls Clubs.
The Literacy Program is a solution to the alarming dropout epidemic taking place. Children are learning key skill sets in reading and writing which will help them well into the future. Small classroom size is enabling youth, who often process information differently, to flourish through the Slingerland Approach. This multisensory method teaches to children’s strengths by instructing through 3 modalities: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic motor. Those youth, who have not been able to learn through memorization and linear methods most often used in school, are able to thrive in instruction which is broken down into single letter recognition--sight, sound, and feel.
From here, the Literacy Program builds up each child’s self-esteem as they are finally reaching academic success and becoming confident readers. One success story which illustrates the positive impact the program is having on our club members is expressed by a grateful parent:
"I want to thank you and the Boys and Girls Clubs for providing my daughter, Makenna, the opportunity to improve her reading skills through Slingerland Institute materials.
Makenna has always had the desire to do well in reading, but her dyslexia has prevented her from doing so. Slingerland’s reading curriculum has helped Makenna’s overall reading ability. The visual and auditory computer program has helped Makenna improve her fluency rate, while the kinesthetic games have enabled Makenna to learn her letter/sound relationships in a fun and engaging way. I’ve seen such an improvement in her confidence and skill levels since starting the literacy program in October.
Although Makenna is looking forward to a break during summer, I’m looking forward to seeing more growth when she starts up again in September. I cringe to think of what “could have been” had Makenna not worked with you this school year. I’m proud of the progress Makenna’s made, but more importantly she is proud of herself.
Thank you very much,"
As we continue this effort to increase graduation rates among members, the University of Oregon is conducting a longitudinal study to assess the effectiveness of the Literacy Program. This study is currently in the midst of a two year tracking of our Literacy Program where measurable results will help us improve the program in the future. There will be a formal report of results at the end of this study in the fall of 2011. However, we have already received feedback indicating that every youth enrolled in the Literacy Program is benefitting from the instruction.
With the kind support and leadership from donors, such as those providing support through Global Giving, the Boys & Girls Club of Portland are impacting the lives of hundreds of youth on a weekly basis who need the support which is provided through our Literacy Program. We truly appreciate your assistance in our commitment to helping the youth of our community reach successful futures
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Executive Development Officer